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  • Arkansas becomes first US state to criminalise treatment for transgender minority (2021/04/09 21:01)

    Friday, April 9, 2021 

    On Tuesday, lawmakers in the Republican-governed US state of Arkansas became the first in the country to ban specific treatment types to transgender youth under the age of eighteen, irrespective of parental consent. It is to become law at the earliest by the 91st day after the legislative session's recess, or July 30.

    Arkansas state governor Asa Hutchinson.
    Image: Arkansas National Guard.

    While vetoed by the state's governor Asa Hutchinson on Monday, House Bill 1570, or the Save Adolescents From Experimentation Act was overturned 25–8 in the state Senate and 72–25 in the House of Representatives, prohibiting any healthcare professional from providing puberty blockers, cross-sex hormone therapy or gender-affirming surgery to anyone under the age of eighteen, as well as referring them to other providers.

    Representative for Arkansas' District 87 Robin Lundsturm said "[t]hey need to get to be 18 before they make those decisions".

    This ban also applies to those minors who are already receiving such treatments. The punishment will be a loss of medical licence.

    While praised by conservative organisations such as The Family Council, Governor Hutchinson called the bill "a product of the cultural war in America". In a statement Governor Hutchinson said, "I do hope my veto will cause my Republican colleagues across the country to resist the temptation to put the state in the middle of every decision made by parents and health care professionals".

    The American Academy of Pediatrics, representing 67 thousand paediatricians nationwide accused the bill of depriving young people of the medical care they need. Medical director at the University of California San Francisco Madeline Deutsch said of transitioning treatment "[t]here's a general consensus among professionals in this field" that "[t]here's tons of solid science supporting this approach", and division head of adolescent and young adult medicine at a children's hospital in Chicago Dr Robert Garofalo called it as "perpetuat[ing] the very things we know are harmful to trans youth".

    Executive director of the Arkansas American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Holly Dickson condemned the act's proponents as "[disregarding] widespread, overwhelming, and bipartisan opposition to this bill and [continuing] their discriminatory crusade against trans youth [...] to block trans youth from the care they need simply because of who they are is not only wrong, it's also illegal, and we will be filing a lawsuit to challenge this law in court". The institution is preparing for litigation; according to deputy director for transgender justice with the ACLU's LGBTQ & HIV project Chase Strangio, "[w]e will always have your back and will be relentless in our defense of your rights."

    The bill's passage comes after similar anti-transgender legislation in Arkansas and other states, including legislation signed by Hutchinson March 25 banning transgender girls and women from competing with their gender identity in sports, described by Dickson according to the AP as "discriminatory and shameful".

    After the lawmakers enacted this ban, pro-LGBTQ rights group the Human Rights Campaign said over 100 bills targeting transgender people have been filed, with bills of similar nature proposed in 20 states or more.


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  • North Korea withdraws from Tokyo Olympics, citing COVID-19 concerns (2021/04/09 19:01)

    Friday, April 9, 2021 

    On Tuesday, North Korean government announced it would not participate in the delayed Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics "to protect players from the world public health crisis caused by COVID-19", the Associated Press reported. It is North Korea's first official withdrawal from Olympics since their boycott of the 1988 Summer Olympics held in Seoul, South Korea, CBS News reported.

    According to South Korea's Ministry of Unification, this is the first time North Korea withdrew from a major international states event due to concerns of an infectious disease. Several athletes from multiple disciplines did not participate in the 2016 Summer Olympics over concerns of the Zika virus, but North Korea did.

    South Korean President Moon Jae-in had hoped the two nations could field a joint team similar to its unified Korean Peninsula team at the 2018 Winter Olympics, Al Jazeera reported.

    While North Korea claims to have no cases of the coronavirus, professor of North Korean studies at Ewha Womans University Park Won Gon says it has shown "a coronavirus-related neurosis since it declared an emergency anti-virus system in January last year", adding it was very unlikely the country would be able to procure enough vaccines for its population by July, when the 2020 Olympics are scheduled to take place.

    In November, Daily NK reported North Korea had placed 81 thousand people, in quarantine excluding the soldiers in quarantine; and, by October 22, 32,011 people were placed in isolation. A source told Daily NK over 300 people had died in an isolation centre in Anju, South Pyongan.

    Director of Asian Studies at Temple University, Japan Campus Jeff Kingston told CBS this decision was a "setback for diplomacy". CBS also reported Seoul's disappointment at the nation's non-attendance, depriving South Korea a chance to discuss relations with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. Recently, North Korea's vice department director of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea and sister of Kim Jong-un Kim Yo Jong warned March 16 "[t]he peaceful spring days of three years ago are unlikely to return", calling South Korean leaders as "all born with stupidity" and they "have become the dumb and deaf bereft of judgment". The warning came after the United States and South Korea held a joint military drills in March.

    This also comes after North Korea tested two ballistic missile on March 24, described by former admiral of the Japanese fleet Yoji Koda as "just the beginning of North Korean fervour."

    North Korea participated in the boycotts of the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo and 1988 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.


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  • North Korean Research Institute for Nutrition Care of Children director slams UN's report on child malnutrition due to COVID-19 (2021/04/09 17:57)

    Friday, April 9, 2021 

    North Korea on a map.
    Image: Addicted04.

    On Tuesday, a statement released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of North Korea heavily criticised a report made by the United Nations on child malnutrition in North Korea, which found around 100 thousand children in North Korea are suffering from malnutrition. This malnutrition crisis is in part caused by COVID-19 border closures, according to The Korea Times.

    In the statement, the director of the Research Institute for Nutrition Care of Children, which is a part of the Academy of Medical Science of the DPRK, described the report as "a sheer lie", "seriously distorted" and being "a black-hearted act of hostility to tarnish the image of our country". The statement further added: In our country, nutrition care of children is deemed a top priority despite difficult conditions and insufficiency. [...] But those self-styled experts wearing the berets of UN are distorting the situation of our country in order to create an impression that serious "malnutrition of children" exists in our country.

    UN's report published on March 10 used the observations of Tomás Ojea Quintana, special rapporteur on the matter of human rights in North Korea. In the report, Quintana said COVID-19 led to deaths by starvation following the decline in business. UN's report mentioned "several individuals who were caught breaking anti-epidemic prevention measures were reportedly executed in public". These alleged executions are said to have taken place in cities including the country's capital city, Pyongyang, where a man was allegedly executed for having partaken in 'illicit trade' with China, the report elaborated.

    In a The Korea Times article, an unnamed non-governmental organisation said "approximately 440 thousand children and pregnant and lactating women will not receive micronutrients, approximately 95 thousand acutely malnourished children will not receive necessary treatment and approximately 101 thousand kindergarten-aged children will not receive fortified foods".

    Border restrictions in North Korea have been implemented as a way to stop the spread of COVID-19, but the restrictions have caused shortages of necessary goods such as medicine, Reuters reported quoting Russia's diplomatic mission to North Korea. These shortages have caused an "exodus" of foreign diplomats leaving North Korea, the same report added.


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  • Wikinews interviews Adrian Mizher, independent candidate for Texas' 6th congressional district special election (2021/04/07 21:21)

    Wednesday, April 7, 2021 

    Portrait of Ron Wright, whose death left a vacancy.
    Image: United States Congress.

    Wikinews extended invitations by e-mail on March 23 to multiple candidates running in the Texas' 6th congressional district special election of May 1 to fill a vacancy left upon the death of Republican congressman Ron Wright. Of them, independent candidate Adrian Mizher agreed to answer some questions by phone on March 30 about their campaigns and policies. The following is the interview with Mr Mizher.

    Mizher describes himself as a senior loan closer on his LinkedIn profile at BBVA USA, a Birmingham-based subsidiary of Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria. He has lived in Kennedale, Texas for five years and the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area for 16 of the last 24 years. A cum laude graduate of Southwestern Adventist University, he grew up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and has lived for eight years in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He endeavours to bring "a never ending fight for fidelity to the Constitution and promotion of our Conservative values", speaking to Wikinews on matters ranging from the economy to immigration.

    An Inside Elections poll published on March 18 shows Republican candidate Susan Wright, the widow of Ron Wright, is ahead by 21% followed by Democrat Jana Sanchez with 17% and Republican Jake Ellzey with 8% with a 4.6% margin of error among 450 likely voters. The district is considered "lean Republican" by Inside Elections and voted 51% in favour of Donald Trump in last year's US presidential election. This is down from 54% for Trump in 2016's presidential election, the same poll stated.

    Interview with Congressional candidate Adrian Mizher.
    Image: J. J. Liu.
    Wikinews

    : Could you please introduce yourself, your history and your background in politics and otherwise?

    Adrian Mizher.
    Image: Adrian Mizher.

    Wikinews waves Left.png((Adrian MizherWikinews waves Right.png)) Well, my name is Adrian Mizher. I don't have much history in official politics — I've never run for office before — but I have been paying attention to politics my whole life, I have been playing close attention to it, so I feel myself just as knowledgeable as anyone else is on the issues of the day, and the history of the news and politics during my lifetime, like I said I have been paying close attention to. So, that's pretty much it in terms of the history of politics. This is my first foray into a[n] official race for either national or local politics.

    I graduated college in 2001 with a bachelor's degree in accounting from Southwestern Adventist University in Keene, Texas. I have a wife, three children. I was a history and math teacher for five years after college and then got into banking; have been in banking for the last 16 years. That's it, that's my résumé!

    Wikinews waves Left.png((WNWikinews waves Right.png)) What are, in your opinion, the powers and duties of the representative?

    Wikinews waves Left.png((Adrian MizherWikinews waves Right.png)) Well, as it lists in the Constitution: to carry out the duties that the Constitution lists for Congress to do in Article One, Section 8 and to uphold that Constitution against any invasion both foreign and domestic as the Oath says. Primarily, what a representative is supposed to do is carry the power of the purse and make sure that the federal budget is such that fits with its Constitutional limitations, which of course they are certainly not doing and haven't done for quite a long time.

    Wikinews waves Left.png((WNWikinews waves Right.png)) You're running as an independent in a House district controlled by the Republicans since 1983, and currently contested by both major parties as well as the Libertarian Party. Why do you think Texas will elect an independent this time?

    Wikinews waves Left.png((Adrian MizherWikinews waves Right.png)) Well, I think if people get to know my viewpoints, they will see that they are very grounded in the Constitution and in our Founding Principles, and they are very conservative at heart: things that the Republican Party should be, but often is not. We, not necessarily just from this district, but we have elected many Republicans to Congress who, when they get there, don't act so Republican. So, in this case, because it was a unique situation, I chose to take a label that would be more clear about the message I want to bring: even clearer than the label of 'Republican'. So, I put down on my application 'Constitution Party', so I would run under the banner of the Constitution Party. The Secretary of State's office then informed me, after they have said "yes, I can put that" that the Constitution Party, while it is a political party, is not officially registered with the Secretary of State, so they couldn't list me under that name on the ballot, and so my choice at that point was to be listed as an independent, which I took. So, it's not so much a calculation of "I think Texas will elect an independent" in a Republican-controlled district as it was the ability to, like I said, make a clearer messaging on my label rather than just the label "Republican", without it being political suicide like it would be in a normal election and without it splitting or fracturing the vote away from another Republican any more than it will be completely splintered with all 23 candidates.

    Wikinews waves Left.png((WNWikinews waves Right.png)) What do you think about the governance of the late Ron Wright [...] the election itself was of course called because of his death?

    Wikinews waves Left.png((Adrian MizherWikinews waves Right.png)) Yes, his untimely passing is very sad. I thought Ron was an excellent Congressman. I met Ron several times, had some private conversations with him, and I have to give him great credit for doing everything, as far as I know, that he said in his campaign he was going to do. And everything he told me, like I said, in private, that he would be interested in getting done. He went out and voted the right way, and did the best he could to get that done. So, I have nothing but good things to say about Congressman Wright — I thought he did a great job for our district and I'm sorry to see that he's gone.

    Wikinews waves Left.png((WNWikinews waves Right.png)) What are some of the most pressing issues you will raise to Congress if elected?

    Wikinews waves Left.png((Adrian MizherWikinews waves Right.png)) The one I already mentioned, almost to the exclusion of all else, which is to shrink the size of the federal government and the federal budget. The federal government is far too large, it is far too involved in our everyday lives. It's far too outside the bounds of its constitutional limitations. And I fear we are headed towards even worse things to come, and we need to turn that around and bring it back down to the size that it was always intended, and make our local and state governments more important in our lives and the federal government less important. That's by far the number one issue in for Congressman Mizher. And that's by far the number one issue that I want to speak about on the campaign trail.

    Stop the Steal protests during last year's presidential election.
    Image: Elvert Barnes.

    Other issues that are also of importance: election integrity. Unfortunately, it's always been of course important, but it is all that much more important nowadays after the 2020 election that we just went through. Whether or not that election was "stolen", as people say, I really don't know. I certainly don't have evidence to show that it was, nor have I seen foolproof evidence to show that it wasn't, but the problem is that so many people believe it was. Whether it was or was not, the fact that many people think it was — that's an issue, and we have to do something to make sure that people have confidence in the elections. If we don't have that, we don't have anything and, unfortunately, more violence will ensue because of that feeling if we don't get a handle on it. So, that is another hugely important issue that Congressman Mizher wants to speak about and work on.

    Immigration is another big issue. Illegal immigration is a problem, and we need to make it easier and simpler and less costly to legally immigrate; we should be welcoming all the immigrants that we can that want to come here, and we should be glad to have them. And, often the Republican Party does not speak in those words, and they ought to, because we're so anxious to kerb illegal immigration, as well we should. But, the best way to stop the flow of illegal immigration is to make our legal immigration system much simpler and more easy to access, as well as, like I said, less costly and less time-consuming. And, I think most people would choose to legally immigrate if we could make the system better than it currently is.

    Wikinews waves Left.png((WNWikinews waves Right.png)) Your website says both "we must remain a sovereign nation who is in control of all our borders" and "our immigration process should be simple enough that a child can follow it." Could you please elaborate?

    Plaque inside the base of the Statue of Liberty with the sonnet The New Colossus by Emma Lazarus.
    Image: National Park Service/Emma Lazarus.

    Wikinews waves Left.png((Adrian MizherWikinews waves Right.png)) Yeah! I think it also says on the website, if I can quote myself, that if somebody wants to come here—I certainly believe in the poem that's on the Statue of Liberty: that we do want the world's tempest-tost, and those that were not wanted somewhere else, and they may not have amounted to something somewhere else in the world, but they can in America. And they can with the freedom and opportunity that our country provides; we want them and we want them to achieve their best and make us better by them coming here, as have waves of immigrants in the past, of which all of us, (virtually all of us), have descended from. And, we need to continue that pattern where we are welcoming immigrants to come here.

    To elaborate on how to make the process simpler: if they don't have a communicable disease, if they do not have a history of criminal activity, if they're willing to learn English — of course they may or may not know English when they show up at our doorstep — and if they're willing to learn American history — they may or may not know that when they show up at our doorstep — and, down the road are willing to pledge allegiance to our flag and our values and say "yeah, I'd like to be an American", then we want them! If they're not bringing us harm, either through physical disease or criminal behaviour, we want them. And then, all we ask is that those simple things — learn our language, assimilate into our culture while bringing your own culture and its influences to us to improve what we have here in our melting pot — and we want you. And then, you can be allowed in on a temporary basis to do whatever it is you've stated you've come here to do, and then work your way towards citizenship — and again, I wouldn't make it be that long; I know now people have thrown around 'seven years', '14 years', to me that seems too long!

    If somebody wants to be here and wants to be an immigrant, we want them to be here. Again, within certain limitations: we can't take everybody, but we certainly should have an annual cap of some kind — I don't have a particular number in mind on what that would be — but I want people to be here who want to be here.

    Wikinews waves Left.png((WNWikinews waves Right.png)) Your website states "as the Founders, did we must appeal to the Supreme Judge for our safety and well being"; "we must regain the firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence as our Declaration urges us to seek." Could you please elaborate on that?

    The US Declaration of Independance.
    Image: Second Continental Congress.

    Wikinews waves Left.png((Adrian MizherWikinews waves Right.png)) Well, I think it sort of speaks for itself. America and its founding is inextricably tied to Judeo-Christian values and a belief in God and a Creator, if they don't use the word 'God' in the Declaration of Independence, but in the divine — if you read the writings that they wrote to each other at the time, clearly all of these men had some belief to some extent or another in the supernatural, in the divine, in something greater than ourselves, in something — a guiding hand — that we have over us that provides us values and a moral code to which we should aspire.

    And, I think that America has been throwing that away for at least half a century now, and running as quickly as we can in the opposite direction throughout my lifetime. Most of the time, I see God and Godly values, especially those of Christianity, if not other religions, trashed and ridiculed and made fun of in popular culture, and I think that has a corrosive effect on our society that I think is very detrimental. And, I think it is one of, if not the main cause of many of the social ills we see today; is the fact that many people do not have this belief that there is something greater than themselves: something to which they must aspire to. And therefore we're all a little kingdom unto ourselves to decide what we believe to be right and wrong, and where we differ it's just going to be the guy with the biggest stick who gets to beat his way onto the other guy. And, I think that's a very dangerous place to be, and I hope we turn around from that direction and go back to where our roots were in our founding.

    Wikinews waves Left.png((WNWikinews waves Right.png)) How will you handle the vaccine rollout if elected?

    Wikinews waves Left.png((Adrian MizherWikinews waves Right.png)) How would I handle the vaccine rollout if elected? Well, I'm not sure that that's Congress' responsibility to decide how to handle the vaccine rollout. Get as many vaccines out as quickly as we can, and let the states governments and local governments decide how best to distribute them to their population, and pretty much just be out of the way and do what they need to have done.

    Wikinews waves Left.png((WNWikinews waves Right.png)) How will you help the economically-disadvantaged if elected?

    Wikinews waves Left.png((Adrian MizherWikinews waves Right.png)) I think the best way to help the economically disadvantaged is to put that help as close to them as possible, and to get it out of Washington, D.C. I think every time Washington D.C. tries to help people, they almost always create more trouble than they solve. So, those who are economically disadvantaged are going to best be helped by their friends and family and communities and local organisations and charities that are near them and on the ground. The argument will come back the other way: "well, what about those who fall through the cracks?" Well, that is what local and state government is for. I don't believe Americans are so callous that they'll let people be starving or destitute on the street who don't want to be. They will find a way to help their fellow man.

    Right now, a lot of people just pass by those on the street we see that are destitute because "you know what? I've paid taxes, and the federal government is taking care of that, therefore I've already done my duty". But I would like to devolve that back to the localities and to personal responsibility to say, "You know what? The homeless in your area, those who are sick in your area and don't have healthcare, those who are poor and need food in your area: they're your responsibility. And I want you people, the locals to pick those up for, again, friends, family, churches, local communities, charities" and, if all else fails and a government needs to step in so we don't have those sick and starving, then that should be as local a government as possible because it will provide the best help for that person rather than the big meat cleaver from Washington, D.C. that just has to throw out money in a one-size-fits all sort of solution. Plus, it will be allowed to require back from the person receiving help certain responses that you would want from this person so that hopefully, they are not continually needing of this help but only on a temporary basis. And, I'm happy to help you out, and here is how we can get on a path where you won't need my help anymore. That's much more likely to come from local help than it is from a cold and distant help from Washington, D.C.

    Wikinews waves Left.png((WNWikinews waves Right.png)) What are your thoughts on President [Joe] Biden?

    Portrait of Joe Biden
    Image: The White House.

    Wikinews waves Left.png((Adrian MizherWikinews waves Right.png)) [laughs] I think you could probably guess based by what I'm saying! He's far too much into the left-wing agenda. You know, I think, like a lot of politicians Joe Biden is doing what he needs to do in order to satisfy the constituency he continues to satisfy to stay in power. I'm not even sure all the things he's proposing are things Joe Biden really believes are going to work. I mean, I think that's true of a lot of politicians: I think they propose and promote theories and ideas that they themselves don't even truly believe in oftentimes, but they know that they need to do these things for political expediency. And, I think his agenda is far too left-wing and unconstitutional, and I don't support it from — almost all of it.

    Wikinews waves Left.png((WNWikinews waves Right.png)) All right, moving onto the complete other side of it, what are your thoughts on the former President [Donald] Trump?

    Photograph of Donald Trump.
    Image: Michael Vadon.

    Wikinews waves Left.png((Adrian MizherWikinews waves Right.png)) Ah, President Trump! I think President Trump did a lot of great things for the United States of America. I give him a lot of credit for much of his foreign policy, although not all of it. Especially in the Middle East, where he was successful in bringing about peace agreements; I am a strong supporter of his moving the embassy to Jerusalem, I thought that was a great and courageous move. For the most part, I think he did a pretty good job of appointing constitutionalists to the judiciary, although I'm slightly disappointed in all three of his nominees to the Supreme Court, but certainly better than some that we've had in the past.

    I think President Trump gets a lot of credit for de-regulation and cutting of government red tape, which helped the economy quite a bit, and certainly is in line with my philosophy of governance and how things should go. I'm a bit frustrated with President Trump on two subjects: one, his caustic and divisive nature did not win as many converts as could have, if he had learned how to speak a little better and more politely. I do like, in fact, the thing I probably like most about him is we finally had a Republican — a big national Republican who was willing to fight the left — most Republicans that I see are spineless cowards and not willing to fight the left and they run cowering into the corner afraid to be called a racist and a bigot and a homophobe and a sexist and a xenophobe and all the other names that leftists like to put on us. Trump did not run from that and I appreciate that — that he was willing to fight the left, and he stood strong against all of their attacks, especially from the leftist media — I know I'm talking to the media now so pardon me for disparaging you — so I really appreciate that about Donald Trump that he was a fighter and that he was willing to fight for the values that I believe in.

    But, I think he often did it in a[n] overly brash, overly caustic, overly harsh way that wasn't necessary. And was not able to explain why. The conservative values that he says he held — in which he governed from for the most part — why those were a better way, and he needs to — any national leader needs to be able to do that. It's fine to speak to the choir — I could go to a room of Republicans and they'd all applaud [for] everything I've told you so far. But that doesn't do us very much good unless we can convince independents and Democrats to say "hey, you know what? This smaller government thing, this constitutionally-limited government thing, this really is a good idea! This is actually the best way to help the poor, this is actually the best way to get people healthcare, this is actually the best way to take care of the environment and all the other issues" that we are often told we don't care about.

    And last point on President Trump: frustrated quite a bit with his attitude. He made it difficult to defend him, oftentimes, and that's a frustrating thing because you want to defend the agenda, but then when he does or says some things that are indefensible, it becomes difficult because those two things are so tied together. And lastly, my biggest criticism of Donald Trump is he did not cut the size of the federal government. Donald Trump talked a lot about 'better' government: "I'm going to do this better than Obama", "I'm going to do that better than Obama", "I'm going to be more efficient", "I'm going to cut red tape": that's great. But I want smaller government, Mr President. I want you to cut spending, but he didn't do — he spent more money than Obama did! And, I have a real problem with that. That is not conservative. And, that's often true of a lot of Republicans. They talk a lot like I do, about fiscal responsibility but when they get their hands in the pie, they like to spend as much as anybody else. And I have a real problem with that. I think that was the biggest failing of President Trump.

    Wikinews waves Left.png((WNWikinews waves Right.png)) Do you have any remaining thoughts on the ongoing Southern border crisis?

    Overcrowding of families observed by OIG on June 11, 2019, at Border Patrol’s Weslaco, TX, Station.
    Image: Department of Homeland Security Office of the Inspector General.

    Wikinews waves Left.png((Adrian MizherWikinews waves Right.png)) Well yes, I have a lot of thoughts, I mean, as you can tell, I have a lot of thoughts and opinions about everything! The current border crisis I find interesting — again, both sides like to use this to bludgeon the other side with. When President Trump was in office, kids in cages were awful. Now that President Biden's in office, these aren't kids in cages, they're merely minors in detention centres until we can find some better place for them to be. But Republicans will say "hey, when Trump was in office [...] those aren't kids in cages, we have to stop the bleeding" but now all of a sudden Biden's in office "look at him he's so cruel" and I'm very frustrated with the illegal immigration debate because frankly, it's not that difficult to solve.

    It's gonna be a lot like how we decide to let people in or out of our house as a guest. We check them out: if we think they're safe, we're going to let them in and welcome them in. If not, then we won't and we need more immigration judges, we need more case workers, we need more personnel there to deal with these millions coming over. And then we can enforce the few laws we should have, the very simple process that we should have, we should be able to enforce it very strictly. And, we're not. But it's not just Joe Biden's fault, which is what a lot of Republicans would tell you. Suddenly now this is this huge crisis and before it was not. That's not true. Now, it's more of a crisis now because Biden said "yeah, welcome in, we have open borders" so of course more are coming, but is the practice really all that different than what President Trump was doing? And, frankly I don't see the evidence that it is.

    And, that's bothersome to me: that both sides use the issue, but both sides don't seem to really to want to solve the issue unless the other side capitulates and solves it their way. Now, that's very bothersome to me.

    Wikinews waves Left.png((WNWikinews waves Right.png)) Regarding the economy, your website states your goal in office will be to "begin to move us towards a more balanced approach" because "our society's foundation and framework are far outside of the needed balance." Could you please elaborate?

    Wikinews waves Left.png((Adrian MizherWikinews waves Right.png)) Well, I'm a big fan of capitalism over socialism, which is under heavy attack nowadays: that "capitalism is bad". But I think that there, again, this goes to Republicans not being able to explain our messaging very well. There are problems with capitalism too, and a much better term for the system that we should have, but don't have, is the free-enterprise system. Because capitalism, the left is, in many ways correct. It rewards greed, and it rewards meanness in some ways. I'm not a big fan of big business either, I do agree they try to keep all the money for themselves and mistreat their workers — I am one of those workers and I've worked for a living my whole life, and they're right. The employer is absolutely trying to pay you as little as possible and get as much work out of you as possible. Of course!

    And the worker is of course trying to get as much money as possible for as little effort as possible. Naturally. Now there's nothing wrong with either of those doing that, we just got to understand that's what human nature is. And so capitalism does reward those with the capital, and therefore the rich are advantaged. And I have a problem with that. The government should not give an advantage to the rich. The government should have a free enterprise — I think that's a much better word for it — point of view where it gives no preference to either. Here's an example: if somebody comes to my little town in Kennedale, and it's Amazon[.com], and Amazon says "you know what? We want to set up a huge plant and we're going to employ 25 thousand people." Well I can promise you that plant will be under construction very, very quickly. They will get tax breaks, the red carpet will be rolled out for them, all the regulations will be waived as much as possible and Amazon will be in business as quickly as possible. But if you or I wanted to start a little coffee shop, it's not that they would tell us "no", but we would certainly have to pay for all of the necessary fees. We would have to go through all of the hoops that are naturally there, and we would be disadvantaged as opposed to Amazon. I have a problem with that, when the rich guy gets the red carpet rolled out for him and the small guy doesn't, and that's what capitalism does. And, I think our government needs to take a much more even-handed balanced approach to not providing those preferences, and I think we would have more small- and medium-sized businesses which then would increase competition, and I'm just not a fan of too big to fail and there's a lot of businesses in this country that are too big to fail and are able to easily crowd out the smaller guys. And I don't like that.

    Wikinews waves Left.png((WNWikinews waves Right.png)) What are your thoughts on the size of the US military?

    Wikinews waves Left.png((Adrian MizherWikinews waves Right.png)) It's too big. As far as I know, I would need some justification for why we have to be that big. Now this is not going to be popular for me amongst Republicans, I'm going to get attacked by the right on that. But unless I can have some justification for why we are spending more than — again here's a leftist talking point — more than the other nine countries behind us combined — yeah! I'd like to know why we're doing that too If we conservatives — if we constitutionalists think that Social Security is a waste of money and Medicaid's a waste of money and Medicare's a waste of money and the Department of Education's unconstitutional and a waste of money and the Department of Energy's unconstitutional and a waste of money but The Pentagon doesn't? I don't understand that logic.

    The Pentagon wastes a lot of money, just as much as anybody else. Because the federal government can't do anything well without wasting money — any large enterprise like that naturally; gather that many human beings together trying to do something and there's going to be a waste of energy and money. The Pentagon needs to have its belt tightened quite a bit, and it needs to justify more for why it has the money it has, rather than just having it. Now as a Congressman, I wouldn't be in charge like the President is, but I would think the President would want an answer to say "hey, why are we doing this? Why do we have soldiers over there?" 'Cause I can't stand news reports where I hear "three Americans died in a helicopter crash today in Namibia" and why are we even having soldiers in Namibia? And that's a real problem to me, and what a Congressman is able to do about that is to hold the purse-strings until he gets justification from The Pentagon as to why it needs as much money as they want.

    So, your question was the size of the military, right? Wasn't that your original question. And the bottom line is it's too big. It's too big. It does not need to be that big. It needs to be smaller than it is, unless we have some justification that can be given to say "hey, we need this and we need to do that with it", okay.

    Wikinews waves Left.png((WNWikinews waves Right.png)) What are your thoughts on the criminal justice system?

    Wikinews waves Left.png((Adrian MizherWikinews waves Right.png)) Um, I think it is a big problem, but not for the reasons that, again, you're gonna — I guess this makes me sound more independent every time I say "both sides", but it is not for the reasons that leftists are trying to teach us, which is that America's a horrible racist indelibly-marked place that can never recover from its racist past. I don't believe that to be true. Certainly there are elements of racism still around, and in government, and people are not being treated right from time-to-time over the issue of race. And where that is occurring, it must be shouted loudly and mercilessly stomped out. I will be the first in line to end any form of racism from anybody anywhere, but I think that that is overused in today's society; the left finds it everywhere! Racism, racism, racism to the point where it means nothing anymore.

    Portrait of John Edwards.
    Image: US Senate.

    And, unfortunately, I think it does crowd out the fact that there are two systems of justice. There's a system of justice for the haves: if you can hire the better lawyer who can play the game better, you're probably going to have a better chance, and the have-nots, who are not going to get as good a shake in the justice system. It is unfortunately not as blinded as our little statues tell us that it is. Now, this won't make me popular on the left but I look at somebody like Hillary Clinton or Hunter Biden, I feel like they're getting away with stuff. Again, do I have proof of that? Of course not, I'm reading biased news like everybody else. My judgement is they're getting away with stuff. But I am for sure that prominent Republicans get away with stuff too. Prominent non-political figures get away with stuff. There are definitely, as John Edwards famously said — somebody whose policies I can't stand but he was correct in this, although not for the reasons he said, — "there are Two Americas"; there are two systems of justice, that's true.

    America does have a problem with classism, much more so than it has a problem with racism. But because we are so hyper-focused — oftentimes where it doesn't exist — on racism, the classism gets covered up. So our justice system needs to be more responsive and — like I said with everything else — more localised. I would love to see a justice system — the example I always use, it's going to get scoffed at by many people, is Mayberry, The Andy Griffith Show. And that's a fake TV show and of course reality can't mirror that, but if we could try, that would be the right way to go where justice, is that we call it a 'justice system' but it so often doesn't dispense justice and it operates much more like a legal system rather than a justice system and it dispenses legal opinions.

    And again, if you're better at playing the game, you're more likely to have a good outcome and it should not be that way. It needs to be more localised, under more local control where you know your police officer's name who's getting you in trouble, where you know the judge's name who you're going before and he knows your name and he says "Hey Adrian, what're you in here for? Oh, okay." and he can dispense then actual justice, which is going to be a blend of punishment and mercy and rehabilitation tailored to what I need, or what that criminal needs. So again, that devolving of the power back towards the people, I think that's the better way to do better justice system than we have now.

    Then-president Lyndon B Johnson signing the Medicare bill
    Image: White House Press Office.

    Wikinews waves Left.png((WNWikinews waves Right.png)) What are your thoughts on Medicare?

    Wikinews waves Left.png((Adrian MizherWikinews waves Right.png)) I think it's completely unconstitutional and eventually — I need to stress that word: eventually — it needs to be done away with. It is not the federal government's responsibility to be providing healthcare or access to healthcare — not actually providing healthcare, providing access to healthcare or healthcare insurance to the poor and those who don't have it. It is a bad idea to think that the federal government is going to distribute that and do it well. There are much better ways to provide healthcare. If a government needs to be providing healthcare to somebody it should be the state government, or even better their local city government who can dispense a form of what we now call Medicare. But, it's definitely unconstitutional. There's no way to justify that.

    Just because it's unconstitutional doesn't make it a bad idea — there are some things that are unconstitutional that "yes, yeah you're right Adrian it's not in the Constitution but it's still a good idea". This is both unconstitutional and a bad idea. It is not a good idea for us to pay money to Washington, D.C. so they can turn around and pay it back to us in the form of helping the poor have access to healthcare that they otherwise wouldn't. So, eventually it needs to be done away with. We can't go in there guns blazing like a bull in a china closet and just start yanking the rug out from everybody and cutting these programmes off, because you're going to cause more human suffering than you're going to solve. But it needs to be rolled back, and people need to understand that we are headed the other direction, guys. You're gonna have to solve your own problems more locally, and think of solutions for yourselves more locally rather than relying on us to do it up in Washington [D.C].

    People in New York protesting against the discrimination faced by people of Chinese and other East Asian ethnicities.
    Image: Andrew Ratto.

    Wikinews waves Left.png((WNWikinews waves Right.png)) What are your thoughts on the rise in anti-Asian sentiment as a result of the pandemic and recent shooting[s] in Atlanta?

    Wikinews waves Left.png((Adrian MizherWikinews waves Right.png)) I'm not sure there is a rise in anti-Asian sentiment, I know the media tells us there is. Again, like I said before about racism — I don't want to say there's notnot, I certainly can't prove there isn't a rise in anti-Asian sentiment, I'm just not sure that there is. And, from what I understand — I'm no expert on what happened in Atlanta a couple weeks ago, — but my understanding is that it didn't have anything to do with race. It happened to be that most of the victims were Asian, but that that was not the intended target, necessarily, of the perpetrator, the criminal. So, again, I am leaving room for myself to be wrong there, or in many other famous incidents that get reported on the news about racism. From what I can tell, it does not appear to be a racially-motivated issue.

    So, I will take issue with the question at first. I am not sure — although I am not-not sure — that there is a rise in anti-Asian sentiment. This pandemic has been around with us for a year, so you would think we would be hearing more about this anti-Asian sentiment since then, so it seems a little opportunistic now as an issue for certain politicians — mostly on the left — to use to their advantage. But, if there is anti-Asian sentiment, like any other racist nonsense, it must be stamped out mercilessly. First we must show that it's true, and then once demonstrated, it has to be ostracised completely from our society. To judge somebody on the basis of their skin colour or ethnicity to me is the most intellectually-vapid, stupid, moronic, nonsensical thing I've ever heard of. And where that exists, we have to destroy it.

    Wikinews waves Left.png((WNWikinews waves Right.png)) What are your thoughts on President Biden's recent talks with China [on March 19, 2021]?

    Wikinews waves Left.png((Adrian MizherWikinews waves Right.png)) Well, again, I need to know more to really determine. Reading the media that I enjoy reading because they agree with my point of view, well, he got taken to school and they took him out of the woodshed and embarrassed us, you know. I don't know, I don't know that that's true, so I need to know more to really have an opinion on his recent talks with China. I'm nervous — I don't trust that Joe Biden is ready to stand up to China in a way that needs to be done, but these most recent talks, again I don't have enough evidence to have an opinion on it and say "yeah, he really screwed up" in this way or that way. It's more of a feeling of general distrust that he is not going to stand up to China in the way that the United States needs to, because China definitely is our most pressing foreign threat at the moment.

    Snow storm in Tyler, Texas in February.
    Image: Bddpaux.

    Wikinews waves Left.png((WNWikinews waves Right.png)) The power outage of February left millions without power, including of course the 6th district, sometimes for days. Its damages are estimated at USD 195 billion and 111 [people] are estimated to have been killed. How will you endeavour to prevent this from happening again if elected?

    Wikinews waves Left.png((Adrian MizherWikinews waves Right.png)) Well, my house was one of those that was without power and mine is one of the ones with a few thousand dollars worth of damage, so I certainly feel the issue personally. Although, I was out of town — don't print that because then I'll get the Ted Cruz treatment ((*))Note: ‍Adrian Mizher has clarified this was meant as a joke. — I was out of town when this happened on a long-ago scheduled trip, so my adult children were here in the house and had to deal with that. But, my house was definitely affected.

    It is not primarily the federal government's responsibility to solve that problem or to prevent it from happening again. So, I'm not trying to duck your question, but along with my philosophy of smaller federal government — this is one of the areas where I don't want us looking to our federal officials and say "what would you do to solve it." Now, what a federal official could do is certainly put pressure on the state officials to solve it and, again, from what I've read — no fully informed expert here — but from what I've read in the media about what happened, we've got quite a few problems: that our power plants are not winterised — naturally, we're in Texas, this doesn't happen very often, — is it really worth wasting the money winterising them or should we just suffer like we did every hundred years when this freak storm comes through. But what was more bothersome to me is hearing that all of the members, or most, of the members from ERCOT [Electric Reliability Council of Texas] were not even citizens of this state!

    So, I have criticisms of the way the state government seems to have things set up. But I would say primarily it's a state government issue to find out the reasons for and resolve rather than a federal issue. Because frankly, energy production and distribution, again, is not in the Constitution and there should not be a Department of Energy or a federal role in taking on such things.

    Wikinews waves Left.png((WNWikinews waves Right.png)) What else would set you apart from the Republican Party and other candidates who would also claim to promote "conservative values"?

    Wikinews waves Left.png((Adrian MizherWikinews waves Right.png)) I'm sure we're all going to get asked that: "eleven of you Republicans, Adrian — who's an independent but, you know promotes himself as a conservative and constitutionalist — so how are you guys all different, you all sound the same and say the same things." I agree, and I'm glad for that. I don't to distinguish — I don't want to look for ways to say "hey, let me say it a little bit differently this way so I distinguish myself from them"; I hope that all twelve of us — as well as the Libertarian, as well as Phil — and, for that matter any of the Democrats, all want to promote constitutionalism and constitutional ways of governance at the federal level. So, I'm happy that we all sound the same, if indeed we do.

    So, where I may or may not have separated myself in these answers already, I'll leave that to you, but one thing I do believe separates me — and I know all these people personally — but I definitely think I am going to be the loudest and most aggressive voice for our conservative values of anybody in the field, and we need that. We need somebody not just with the right ideas in their head, but somebody who has the spine and the aggressiveness to tirelessly and doggedly go after it, the way the left does for their values. We must have that same intensity, we must have that same drive that they do, and I believe I'm able to explain these values to others in a way — like I criticised President Trump for that he could not — I am able to explain this in a way that I believe won't convince everybody, certainly, you never will do that, but will be able to convince many people that the conservative values doesn't equal racism, the conservative values doesn't equal hates the poor, hates minorities, hates women, things the left portrays us as. We have to fight against that and I think I, and my personality, would both couple the aggressiveness, but also the ability to explain these values to people who may not currently understand them and have a misconception of what conservatism is.

    Wikinews waves Left.png((WNWikinews waves Right.png)) How has COVID-19 affected your campaign?

    Wikinews waves Left.png((Adrian MizherWikinews waves Right.png)) COVID-19 has not affected my campaign that I can tell. Now, I have never campaigned without COVID-19 around so I guess I don't have a reference point, but I can't tell an effect that COVID-19 has had on my campaign.

    Wikinews waves Left.png((WNWikinews waves Right.png)) If you aren't elected this time, what are your ambitions for the future?

    Wikinews waves Left.png((Adrian MizherWikinews waves Right.png)) I think that remains to be seen. I don't know.

    Wikinews waves Left.png((WNWikinews waves Right.png)) Lighthearted comment before we finish this: which historical figure do you identify with the most, and why? It is an open-ended question.

    Portrait of Abraham Lincoln.
    Image: Alexander Gardner.

    Wikinews waves Left.png((Adrian MizherWikinews waves Right.png)) I would say my favourite historical — I would say Jesus Christ, who is certainly historical, but to me is well beyond historical as my favourite, but that also takes us out of "light-hearted" and into a much more serious spiritual place. So I'll say Abraham Lincoln is my favourite historical figure, somebody who I have tremendous admiration for. Working under the difficult circumstances that he did and the growth that he showed in his political life from where he was in the 1850s to right up to his death; how he showed growth in his opinions and came to understand — again I believe in divine guidance — things that he previously had not understood. So, I think Abraham Lincoln would be my favourite although I don't know that I'm a whole lot like Lincoln other than sharing the same values.

    Portrait of Ronald Reagan.
    Image: US Government.

    So, I certainly have great admiration for Ronald Reagan as well: that's definitely someone I want to be like. Speaking of lighthearted, but his lighthearted humour and his ability to connect with people on that level is something I feel I am like and certainly aspire to be. So I picked two obvious ones. Yeah, kind of bland, right? Ask a Republican: "who do you want to be like?" "Oh, Lincoln and Reagan...", so yeah. Sorry that it's so generic.

    Wikinews waves Left.png((WNWikinews waves Right.png)) Any final comments?

    Wikinews waves Left.png((Adrian MizherWikinews waves Right.png)) Nope! I'm pretty sure I laid it out, said it all. If I have a closing statement it's going to be to repeat what I said in the opening.


    Wikinews
    This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.
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  • NASA's helicopter Ingenuity survives its first night at Mars (2021/04/07 19:53)

    Wednesday, April 7, 2021 

    On Sunday, NASA announced on twitter its man-made helicopter Ingenuity survived its first freezing night on the surface of Mars. Ingenuity is a part of Perseverance's mission, which primarily focuses on astrobiology, and Ingenuity is planned to fly and explore Mars and gather rocks samples looking for signs of life.

    NASA's Ingenuity helicopter can be seen here with all four of its legs deployed before dropping from the belly of the Perseverance rover on March 30, 2021, the 39th Martian day, or sol, of the mission.
    Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech.

    Ingenuity has previously been in the belly of Perseverance, a car-sized rover which landed on Mars' Jezero Crater on February 18. Perseverance charged Ingenuity and kept it warm. Ingenuity left the rover on Sunday, after which the rover moved away to expose Ingenuity's photovoltaic array to direct sunlight.

    NASA's Ingenuity helicopter can be seen on Mars as viewed by the Perseverance rover's rear Hazard Camera on Sunday, the 44th Martian day, or sol of the mission.
    Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech.

    The NASA-Jet Propulsion Laboratory released a statement saying this was the first time Ingenuity survived the night by itself while being exposed to the planet atmosphere directly. In the statement NASA wrote this has confirmed they have "the right insulation, the right heaters, and enough energy in its battery to survive the cold night, which is a big win for the team." The temperatures could go as low as -90 °C (-130 °F), the statement said. The helicopter used the energy from its solar array to power a small heater and protect its electronics from the cold.

    Mars just has 1% of atmosphere as compared to Earth. Ingenuity's propeller had to rotate about three times faster for flight on the Martian atmosphere as compared to flying on Earth, ABC News reported. Ingenuity has been designed to be light to make the takeoff easier. Its mass is about 1.8 kilograms. Tim Canham from NASA said "The processor on the helicopter is about 100 times more powerful than the processor on the rover itself".

    The next step would be a blade movement test scheduled for today, CNN said. If successful, it would be followed by first flight test, which can take place by Sunday. That would be the first powered, controlled flight on another planet. Five flights were expected to occur in the next 31 days. If successful, they would be followed by further movement of the helicopter, as it would collect samples of rocks, and collect photos of its observations. Throughout the entire duration of research, Ingenuity would also measure its temperatures and battery recharge performance.

    Perseverance rover is to deliver images from Ingenuity to Earth, reportedly a few hours after they were captured. NASA said the rover travelled a distance of 471 million km to reach the crater.


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